don’t be afraid of the elephant in the room

Once, I was coming into the office on the weekend and I heard the start of the radio commercial I’d written a week or two prior.

It was getting close to the end of the 30 second spot and it suddenly hit me… dear god, please say the name of the business. PLEASE SAY THE NAME OF THE COMPANY FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY.

Nope? OK cool that’s a lot of money wasted on radio ads in San Francisco, no big deal.

So I went into the office on a fact finding mission – was that the radio DJ’s bad in the recording? Or was it mine in the writing?

Turns out that was all me, baby. I left the name off every single spot I wrote that week. Great thing to tell all the lovely folks we’ve got a kickass sale on garden bark during the height of a drought… and then not tell them where that sale’s actually happening.

Here’s the thing… nobody noticed.

Not a single.damn.fool. from me to my copy chief to the CD to the marketing coordinator to the marketing director to the radio station and back actually noticed the company was not named once.

I could have kept it to myself and made a mental note to DAMMIT ANGIE ADD THE FREAKING NAME IN NEXT TIME.

Nope, I went to my boss (the copy chief) first thing Monday morning with the ad copy, told him what I’d heard on the radio, and told him my plan to double check my work moving forward.

I didn’t say I was sorry. I didn’t cry (thankfully, because I can get pretty weepy despite my tough-chick persona). I identified the problem, took (and this is key) ownership, and brought him a solution.

Added benefit? From that point forward my integrity was pretty much beyond reproach. He knew if there was a problem I wouldn’t sweep it under the rug or toss the blame on someone else.



If you’re an aspiring freelancer who’s working up the courage to leave the day job… good news! I’m sharing all the things I WISH I’d known before making the leap so that hopefully your journey goes a little more smoothly than mine.

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